Gulabo Sitabo Review
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Ayushmann Khurrana, Vijay Raaz, Brijendra Kala, Srishti Shrivastava, Farrukh Jaffar and others.
Directed by: Shoojit Sircar.
Written by: Juhi Chaturvedi.
GULABO SITABO is an unconventional and a slow pace tale. The film is a faceoff between Mirza (Amitabh Bachchan) and Rastogi (Ayushmann Khurrana). Mirza (Amitabh Bachchan), a cantankerous, greedy old man obsessed with Fatima Mahal, the 100-year-old palace he and his wife, Begum (Farrukh Jafar), own, and one of his tenants, Baankey Rastogi (Ayushmann Khurrana), a young man struggling to make enough to feed and educate his family comprising his mother and three younger sisters. Rastogi is just one of the handful of people who live in the dilapidated and crumbling haveli. Each tenant pay less than Rs 100 as rent to the miserly Mirza, who is on an eternal mission to get cash from anywhere possible. He’ll pawn off fixtures and belongings from the haveli and he’s not above a bit of stealing. While Rastogi and Mirza are always at loggerheads, bickering and taking entertaining swipes at each other, they have a shared love, something they are both willing to fight to the death for — Fatima Mahal. As the two plot endlessly to get back at each other, with Mirza determined to evict Rastogi and the latter equally determined to live there forever, the future of the haveli itself is threatened, forcing the two enemies into a race to outwit the other in time.
The few problems though with film is its pace, scripting and editing. The filmmaker and writer both take too long to establish situations and plot-lines boring the audience. While the jokes and quips will make you chuckle in the moment, the humour is nothing to write home about and hence, the only thing keeping you in your seat is the resolution, which is thankfully unexpected but, again, stretched out and could easily be cut and made crisper.
Technically the film is brilliant. Cinematography by Avik Mukhopadhyay is outstanding. He peeks in the beauty of the city of Lucknow brilliantly into the film. Editing by Chandrashekhar Prajapati could have been more pacy. The characters and dialogues written by Juhi Chaturvedi are colorful and refreshing.
Performances wise Amitabah Bachchan delivers a touching performance as a bent-over, clever, but slow Mirza, whose greed is his driving emotion but is limited to the small game of Rs 100 or so. Khurrana matches him with a toned-down rendition of the common man, Khurrana chooses to bring Rastogi’s desperation and insecurities to the forefront. The excellent supporting cast of Vijay Raaz as an officer of the Archaeological Survey of India, Brijendra Kala as a lawyer and Srishti Shrivastava as Rastogi’s solister shine at par with the two leading men of the film.
As a director, Shoojit Sircar tries to tell a different tale with greed and banter at the forefront on it all. Sircar is able to get some top notch performances out from his actors but is let down by the slow and tedious pacing and predictable screenplay.
On the whole, the film is an opportunity missed. The screenplay of the film is hit and miss and that’s the biggest issue with it. Watch it for the sheer brilliance of Mr. Bachchan and an honest performance by Ayushmann Khurrana.